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Wednesday, 28 October 1914

Senator BAKHAP (Tasmania) . - I do not intend to discuss the clause at length. It has already been dealt with almost ad nauseam. I wish to say that I very strongly object to the attitude and tone adopted by the Minister in suggesting that the vote on the clause may be regarded as an index of what might be called the patriotic opinions of honorable senators.

Senator Gardiner - I take that attitude.

Senator BAKHAP - Then I very strongly object. I say, without hesitation, that it is a very wrong attitude for the Minister to adopt.

Senator Gardiner - "Actions speak louder than words."

Senator Newlands - That is worse than ever. That will not do.

Senator BAKHAP - The Minister would appear to suggest that clause 17 has relation only to the traitorous offences to which he has alluded, and would provide for doubling the maximum term of imprisonment attaching to such offences in the cases of persons previously convicted of an offence. I have no hesitation in saying that I regard the penalties proposed for what are clearly traitorous offences as exceedingly light. There is, for instance, the offence of taking soundings for the use of an enemy. .

Senator Senior - The clause to which I referred says nothing about taking soundings for the benefit of an enemy.

Senator BAKHAP - I assume that the taking of unlawful soundings would be a venial offence, unless behind it there was the intention to communicate the information to an enemy. In that case, the offence would clearly be a traitorous offence, and I should be prepared to support a proposal to increase by 600 per cent, the severity of the penalties attaching to such offences. The Minister- has adopted the attitude of the "artful dodger" in saying that the vote on this clause may be regarded as an index of our patriotic opinions.

Senator Gardiner - Is that statement in order?

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